Zandvlei Trust

Draft minutes for the Meeting on 24 April 2013.

CAPE Estuaries Programme: Implementation of the Estuary Management Plan (EMP) for the Zandvlei Estuary, Muizenberg, Cape Town.


Minutes of the 7th Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF): 18:00, 24th April, 2013, Zandvlei Sports Club/Yacht Club.

ZEMF 7 Minutes ver A 20130503.

Summary of follow-up actions.

Action. Resposible Person. Date.
Follow-up with DEA & DP re sewage spills Pierre de Villiers April 2013.
Identification of representative from CoCT Security branch to sit on ZEMF. Dalton Gibbs April 2013.
Draft proposal for financial support for secretariat to be circulated for comment by ZEMF members Sandra Fowkes April 2013.
Historical ZEMF documents to be collated Lynn Jackson to forward to Gavin Lawson. Lynn Jackson April 2013.
Letter to be sent to Mr.Asmal re failure to implement aspects of the Pondweed Management Protocol. Sandra Fowkes April 2013.
Re-establishment of Pondweed TWG Ken Findlay/Josh Gericke April 2013.
Weekly harvesting reports  Joshua Gericke Ongoing.
Review of Pondweed Protocol TWG May 2013.
Letter drop to all houses around vlei to report poaching to 107. Request to local Security Company to be on alert for poaching incidents. John Fowkes April 2013.
Request to Councillor D’Alton. Sandra Fowkes April 2013.
Corrections to ZEMF 5 Report Lynn Jackson April 2013.

 


 Minutes.

1. Welcome and introductions
Participants were welcomed to the meeting by Sandra Fowkes, the Chair of the Forum. This was followed by a round of introductions as there were a number of new attendees. A list of participants can be found at Annex 1 and a copy of the Agenda at Annex 2.
Apologies were received from Councillor D’Alton, Dalton Gibbs, Martin Thompson, Candice Haskins, Wilna Kloppers, John Fowkes, Ken Findlay and Nitasha Baijnath-Pillay.

In response to the Chair’s request to Members to identify positive developments at Zandvlei since the last meeting, the following were put forward:

  • There had been a good response from the Reserve staff to the IYC’S requests regarding pondweed harvesting (DaG);
  • There had been a good CWAC count (increased bird numbers and species) (GL);
  • There had been a successful fish trek also showing increased numbers and species (JG);
  • There are now 3 CPUT students doing projects at Zandvlei, one on alien fish/plant species and two on pollution-related issues (DW);
  • There have been no further sewage spills and there are more government departments attending meetings (PdV);
  • Fishermen are also catching more fish – including a 35cm leervis (CV & GP);
  • The City proactively communicated with IYC with regard to adjusting the mouth opening schedule to allow for a recent yachting event (SF).

2. Adoption of the Minutes of the 6th ZEMF Meeting
There was a request that certain acronyms in the minutes be spelled out where first used – for example, PCC = Provincial Coastal Committee; and TWG = Technical Working Group. It was agreed instead that a list of acronyms be attached to the minutes. This is attached as Annex 4.

Similarly, it was suggested that the abbreviations for participant names be included in an additional column in the list of participants.

Adoption of the minutes was then proposed by PdV, seconded by DaG.

3. Matters arising from the Minutes of the 6th ZEMF Meeting

3.1 Meeting on Sewage Spills
At the previous meeting it had been agreed that PdV would liaise with officials from DEA & DP to arrange a meeting and site visit with officials of the Water and Sanitation Department of the CoCT. Although some preliminary communication had occurred, no meeting had yet taken place, and the intention was to use the 7th Forum meeting to finalise arrangements in this regard. Unfortunately, however, none of the Water & Sanitation officials were present.

There was then some discussion on the matter and it was noted that:

  • There is no discharge from any sewage plant into the system; rather the spills come from either the pump stations (of which there are 14 in the vicinity), or from blockages in the reticulation system which in some cases overflow into stormwater drains;
  • There are regular problems in and around the Sand River;
  • There have been 10 spills affecting Zandvlei between January and March of this year;
  • There are particular concerns around containment, treatment and reporting;
  • Procedures identified in the Contingency Plan for Zandvlei are not being followed.

PdV would liaise with JG to arrange a site visit.

3.2 Proposal for financial support
The Chair reported that she had circulated a draft proposal earlier in the day. A copy of this is attached as Annex 3, and comments and suggestions should be provided to the Chair by May 15.

It was noted that the City has funds to support the Advisory Committees for Protected Areas. Since it has been proposed that, in the case of Zandvlei, ZEMF should become the Advisory Committee once the Reserve has been proclaimed under the NEMPA, this is a good option. It was reported that the proclamation is still lying with the Premier’s office, where there is a new law advisor. It was suggested that anyone with relevant contacts should follow up on this matter.

3.3 Letter to Mr. Asmal re Pondweed Issues
The Chair reported that she had sent a letter to Mr. Asmal, but that there had been no response as yet as he was away until the 2nd May.

3.4 Implementation of the Pondweed Protocol
As the TWG on Pondweed had not as yet been re-constituted, there had been no progress on this matter other than the fact that the harvesting reports for the period during which JG was on leave are now being compiled. The Chair requested that this be attended to as soon as possible so that the Pondweed Protocol could be reviewed prior to the next meeting. A specific point to be addressed was the identification of node points which should always be kept clear of pondweed – for example, the entrances to the channels of the Marina, with a view to improving water circulation in the channels.

4. Law Enforcement

JG reported that he had had discussions with SAPS in an attempt to get them to do checks on illegal fishing activities during their regular patrols. They are already coming into the Reserve area.

AP reported that he had had people on duty in the Zandvlei area for a period of 6 weeks from the middle of January. Over this period they had only encountered a few minor problems and had issued a few warnings, but there had been no arrests. They had subsequently had discussions with the Reserve staff and it had been agreed that:

  • During the day: the Reserve staff will be responsible. Calls should therefore go to the BMB Emergency number: 083  499 1717.
  • At night: calls should go to the Law Enforcement number: 021  596 1999 and they will be responsible.

Although there had been problems in terms of getting a response from Law Enforcement, the Compliance Unit had had a briefing with the staff at the Call Centre to ensure they had a good understanding of the relevant issues and would know where they should direct incoming calls to. In some previous cases, the calls had been directed to the Metro Police who, although they have a Rapid Response Unit, respond according to priority, and illegal fishing is not a priority in comparison with eg. murders or housebreaking. This was one of the reasons for the establishment of the Marine and Coastal Compliance Unit and it was noted that although the Metro Police had been involved in the operations of this unit, calls should be channelled through the Unit.

One of the remaining issues is that in order for Law Enforcement to have a successful prosecution, the complainant must be willing to go to court – unless the perpetrator is caught in the act, which is difficult when Law Enforcement responds to a call-out because of the time delay. Photographs – with a date and time stamp - can be used, but only in support of the testimony of the complainant.

In response to a query regarding the possibility of having an sms number to which complaints could be sent – rather than using the call centre number where there is sometimes a delay due to numerous incoming calls – AP indicated that this was not suitable because they cannot respond to anonymous complaints as they could be hoaxes, possibly even to draw officials away from the site of an intended illegal activity. Moreover, in order to lay a charge, they need to have the contact details of the complainant.

The attention of the meeting was drawn to a recent posting on the Facebook page as follows:

BBoy Liam wrote:

” I have been listening to every bit of information regarding zandvlei and two years ago took up my very own research on the vlei and finally I can say tht most of these probitation are crap firstly let's start with zandvlei and what it is, zandvlei is an estaury and all permit holders have the right to fish or use a cast net for certain fish pumping of prawn is legal as there is no law which says u can not pump prawn within an estuary the signs tht are decorating the vlei was put up by the council and wa not issued by the correct authorities or passed as a law for the vlei,now I do not say tht the angelrs or fisherman is innocent but however they get blamed for things which the recreational permit allows , I have conduct studies for two years on the vlei and laws of recreational fishing I will not go into the polution and the other agenders of the vlei as that will be touched on later but this weekend I will be pumping prawn in the vlei and I will be awaiting the local law enforcements to approche me and fine me so tht I may appear in court to prove my point I have spent lots of money getting the research done as well as getting professional marine opinions and reports regarding the vlei and would like to put an end to all of the fish tails”.

There was some discussion over what response there should be to this and it was agreed that there should not be any direct response, but that:

  • Complainants should be advised to contact the City Manager to make a formal complaint; and
  • Consideration should be given to making a press release to local media confirming that the signs had in fact been erected by the City in terms of the applicable legislation.

In response to a comment that the current by-law is out of date, this was acknowledged by AP who also noted that i) the fact that it is out of date does not mean that it is no longer in force; and ii) the City is working towards the promulgation of a new by-law.

Discussion then turned to a proposal which had been made at the previous meeting, namely a letter-drop to residents to encourage them to keep a look-out for illegal fishing activities. Neither JG and AP (who were not present at the previous meeting) supported this idea, noting that they already received numerous calls in this vein, many of which were based on erroneous information – for example, responses to calls reporting the catching of baby steenbras frequently found that the fish being caught were in fact mullet, and that the fishermen involved actually had permits. It was stated however, that it was possible that when eg. undersized steenbras had been caught, they were probably being hidden away in the reeds. Officials investigating such complaints should therefore also search the adjacent areas.

Actions:
With regards to the proposal to make a press release, AP noted that it was possible for them to release information within a few hours. However, they needed someone to draft the material for them. It was agreed that AP and JG would work together to put out a media statement regarding the issues around signage on fishing, the applicability of the by-law etc. It was also agreed to cover another point which was raised, namely whether marine and freshwater permits – or both – were required to fish in Zandvlei.
Discussion on this point suggested that a marine permit is required to fish, but if freshwater fish are caught, a freshwater permit is required – suggesting that in such cases, both permits are required.

Forum Members – and other stakeholders – were requested to continue making reports through the relevant channels (preferably 021  596 1999, but also 107), and to keep details of such calls so that in the case of reports of no response, blockages in the system, or cases of mis-directed calls, could be identified and corrected.

5.  Any Other Business

5.1 Telephone numbers
The 107 number should be removed from signs and replaced with the BMB number for day time reports, and the Law Enforcement number 021  596 1999 for night time reports.

6. Dates and focus for next meeting/s

The next meeting will be on the 29th of May, 2013 at 18:00. The focus will be on the review of the Pondweed Protocol and determining whether sufficient progress has been made to warrant setting a date for the AGM.


Annex 1.

List of Attendees at the 6th Meeting of the ZEMF on 27th March 2013.

Organisation Name Rep/Alt/Ind

ZEMF Chair

Sandra Fowkes

Chair 
CapeNature  Pierre de Villiers Rep
CoCT (BMB) Dalton Gibbs Alt 
CoCT(CSRM)  Martin Thompson Rep
CoCT (Water & San) Andrew Taylor Rep
Zandvlei Trust John Fowkes Rep
Peninsula Canoe Club Ken Findlay Rep
Cape Bird Club Gavin Lawson Rep
Fishing fraternity Case Veugelers  Rep
C & EC Lynn Jackson  Consultant.

 


Annex 2.

CAPE Estuaries Programme: Facilitation of the Estuary Management Plan (EMP) for the Zandvlei Estuary,
Muizenberg, Cape Town.

6th Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF) 18:00 – 20:00 : 27th March, 2013
Zandvlei Sports Club (Yacht Club).

Draft Agenda.

1.  Welcome and introductions, apologies etc.
2.  Matters arising from the 5th ZEMF Meeting 2.1 Follow-up on submission to CapeNature on sewage spills 2.2 Link btwn Facebook page & ZVT website 2.3 Funding assistance for work on vlei by-law 2.4 Documents – version control (adoption of GL proposal) 2.5 Proposal for financial support for Secretariat function.
3.  Pondweed (monitoring implementation of the Pondweed Management Protocol, re-establishment of TWG, harvesting reports, requests etc).
4.  Any Other Business.
5.  Dates and focus for next meetings in 2013.


                                                                                                                                                   

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